Malawians Sentenced for Albinism Murder
Three Malawian men aged 44, 45, and 71 were convicted on charges of albinism murder. The three men; James Khang’a, Sumaila Nikisi and Gayesi Kapito stood trial for murdering a person with albinism. They were sentenced for murder, extraction of human tissue, and the abduction of a person with the intention to commit harm.
According to reports, the victim of the murder was 23-year-old Saidi Dyton. The gruesome crime took place in January this year in Kadewere Village, Malawi. One of the men convicted is the uncle of the victim.
The three men were each sentenced to 155-year jail terms. These jail terms were imposed to dissuade people from targeting people with albinism. “Killings of persons with albinism were not supposed to be taking place in the first place, but we are happy that justice is being served to those found on the wrong side of the law,” said a spokesperson for the Ministry of Justice, Pilirani Masanjala.
Malawi has experienced problems with attacks against people with albinism. People with albinism are regularly kidnapped and killed by people who harvest their body parts.
People believe the body parts have magical powers that can be used in rituals that can bring wealth and luck. Since 2014, there have been over 170 cases of perpetrators committing a plethora of crimes that include physical violence, abductions, killings, and exhuming graves of people with albinism to get their hands on body parts.
Attacks against people with albinism
Earlier this month, several people were convicted for a similar crime in what was a high-profile case involving a Catholic priest, a police officer, a doctor, and nine other individuals. 22-year-old Macdonald Masambuka was a victim of the albino murders. The catholic priest, along with 12 others, received their judgment from the High Court in Malawi for the murder that was conducted in 2018.
The priest was the brother of the victim. The judge on the case, Justice Dorothy NyaKaunda Kamanga, said the killing was “a violation of the right to human life and the greatest violation of rights to life and integrity for persons with albinism. According to reports, this is the first time that prominent members of society have been convicted in such a matter.
The attacks against people with albinism with intentions to obtain their body parts are a persistent problem in Malawi. The Malawian government, with the help of the United Nations, made an effort to solve the problem. In 2018, in partnership with the UN, the government created a National Action Plan on Persons with Albinism.
The plan served the purpose of discouraging attacks as well as providing people with albinism with greater means of protection. Maria Jose Torres was the UN’s representative in this plan.
“The United Nations is calling upon the authorities to continue implementing that National Action Plan on Persons with Albinism to ensure that the criminal practice of attacking persons with albinism is fully eliminated in Malawi,” said Torres. Other stakeholders in Malawi indicated that more work should be done to fight beliefs that encourage the continued hunting and persecution of people with albinism.